Fairmont State University’s Master of Architecture program has been granted initial candidacy from the National Architectural Accrediting Board. This is a huge step for the program toward becoming the first accredited professional architecture degree offered in the state.
This announcement came after the accrediting board voted to approve the Visiting Team Report for the University. Dr. Bob Kelly, Director of the Graduate Program of Architecture, said the report was the result of a visit by an accrediting team in the spring.
“We redoubled our efforts, got some things in place like better studio space, additional funding, and planned for the visit,” he said. “We submitted a program report about six months before they came and they found everything to be in very good shape. They were highly complimentary of our connections with the community as well as our good student-faculty relationships.”
The program is on its way, Kelly noted, to becoming fully accredited. The faculty are working to maintain every aspect of the program while also continuing to improve.
The visiting team also mentioned that the Core Faculty is dedicated to the success of the program and that their commitment is well recognized throughout the University, from the students to the administration. The team also noted that a positive student culture was evident as a spirit of collaboration and shared learning that “defines the culture of this program.”
Kelly said the report additionally noted the community outreach projects that they have completed and that this contributed to the city officials speaking highly of the program.
“The enthusiasm and support of city officials, including the City Manager and the Director of Planning and Development, defines the contributions the school has already made to the community. The City of Fairmont looks forward to future opportunities for collaboration,” the report said. “The visiting team found collaboration and leadership, stewardship of the environment and community, and social responsibility woven throughout the program. The program overall seeks to create a school where the environment is collaborative by nature.”
Being granted initial candidacy is an important first step in the Master of Architecture program becoming fully accredited. Kelly said they will submit another report in September 2019 for the continuing candidacy visit in the spring of 2020. Then in the spring of 2022, possibly earlier, the final accreditation visit will be held.
“This is the only architecture program in the state and the only professional degree program of architecture in the state,” Kelly said. “The degree sequence of a four-year Bachelor of Science in Architecture along with the one-and-a-half-year Master of Architecture make up the professional degree. You have to do both components to qualify to become a licensed architect.”